10/02/2019 at 3:25 pm #68520
I had two of the same item and decided to list them individually. I found a similar listing, hit “Sell one like this”, went to the draft page, hit “create a copy”, then filled out both and listed them.
Now on my active listings page I see the following under the PL column:
Listing A: Trending ad rate 7%
Listing B: Trending ad rate 4.2%
Exact same item with two different rates.
I know the general advice is to not trust this value to begin with, but at least now it’s proven that this number is just manufactured nonsense.2+
10/02/2019 at 4:09 pm #68524Retro Treasures WVParticipant
I checked my own store and I was not able to reproduce this issue. My identical or similar listings all seemed to have the same trending rate.1+
10/02/2019 at 5:23 pm #68528
I decided to change the price of listing A and the rate dropped to 4.2% (from 7%) to match listing B. I changed the price back and the rate stayed at 4.2%.
Price was the only difference between these items. Listing A was cheaper, but had a higher trending rate. Not cool.
They’re both still sitting at 4.2%. The mysterious black box of eBay puzzles me.
@Retro – Thanks for checking. I’m hoping others can chime in and confirm whether this was a one-off accident.0
10/02/2019 at 6:51 pm #68531jumbleandclutterParticipant
I also notice that the “trending rate” on items I listed weeks ago change frequently…I always use “sell similar” to list new items to save the hassle of filling out everything again. I always notice that the trending rate is often (much) lower or higher than the similar item I had listed earlier. So I guess if you don’t go thru your listings and constantly revise the rate, you get stuck with paying, for example, 10 % PL when the item has dropped to 4 % in the meantime. Who has time for that??0
10/02/2019 at 9:23 pm #68535
I don’t know if this explains what you are seeing, but the trending rate is based on similar items at the most specific level for which ebay has sufficient data for a particular item. As I understand it, the trending rate for a popular commodity item with a UPC or other PIN will probably be based on items pretty much exactly like it. Whereas, for many typical “scavenger” (long tail, non-commodity) items, the trending rate may be based on a something higher, like a subcategory or even a category average. And the trending rate, like everything to do with search and PL, is dynamic….it could be one thing today, another thing tomorrow.
In your example, I’m a little unclear….you listed the exact same item, exact same categories, etc…BUT priced differently? Is that correct?
I generally use a flat PL rate for my stuff rather than worrying about the trending rate. Sometimes this actually puts me above the TR, sometimes below. But I choose the rate, and it’s one I’m satisfied with so I just don’t worry much about the trending rate. IF I sold a lot of new commodity goods, I would consider the trending rate important, but almost all my stuff is long tail, used / vintage, and I just don’t think the trending rate usually means much for that stuff. (Nor do I think eBay usually has sufficient data to provide a trending rate at a precise level.)
Of course, my whole philosophy of PLs is based on the fact that I don’t care much about search placement on the first page. If a buyer has used a fairly precise search query, my items are unusual enough that they’ll come up on the first page most of the time without PL. I use PLs for the OTHER pages…PLs are shown on a number of pages besides the search page, and I believe (but have no data to support this, since ebay doesn’t provide it) that most of my PL sales are a result of buyers seeing my items on those pages.
I think many non commodity sellers don’t use PLs at all, because they don’t see the need for them. So, for my kind of stuff, even 1% can be a winner if it gets me on those other pages.0
10/02/2019 at 11:29 pm #68537
Yes, exact same item with a different price due to some difference in quality I felt was big enough to split it off from a quantity listing. All item specifics were the same since I wrote up one listing and then just made a copy for the second one.
I agree with you on the other points re: not worrying about TR and just applying a global rate that might be over/under the TR. The point, I guess, is that we should be able to trust these numbers have some kind of math behind them. If I plug in two identical items and the rate comes back different, then it’s just a random number generator that occasionally spits out something something resembling logic. I have the same critique of Service Metrics and Guaranteed Delivery where the information seems unreliable or otherwise manufactured to push you to “do better”, as the former almost always says I’m “above average” whereas my return rate is quite reasonable given what I sell, and the latter constantly says I’ll qualify for the program upon the next review, but I always get rejected for some unknown reason.
I want to trust eBay, but stuff like this bothers me. When I was breaking into a really tough category a year or so ago I ended up trusting the high TR because I assumed it had some logic behind it, but now I wonder if that was at all accurate – could I have halved my rate and remained in the top 10?0
10/02/2019 at 11:45 pm #68539
I don’t think your example is sufficient to prove much. Frankly, I don’t think the TR is just a random generated number. But there’s an algorithm involved, and we don’t know all the details. ebay has indicated they will be adding more “transparency” regarding the TR rate in the future. I had specifically asked whether the TR was based on an overall figure (like the average for everything in the jewelry category) or was it more granular than that? And the answer I got was what I shared above….if ebay has sufficient data to use a more micro level TR they do….they always go with the level that is as micro as they can get it. (They didn’t use the word micro, but hopefully you get what I’m saying)
Now, could item price enter into it? Or condition? I don’t know.
I do think the numbers can be somewhat misleading, and as sellers we need to use common sense. If I have a truly unique painting, I will assume that their TR is based on something too general to be of use to me. If I have a new item with UPC and there are many of them listed, I think it’s a fairly safe bet that the TR is pretty accurate for that item
Also, I note your question: “When I was breaking into a really tough category a year or so ago I ended up trusting the high TR because I assumed it had some logic behind it, but now I wonder if that was at all accurate – could I have halved my rate and remained in the top 10?” Again, I think it’s important to keep in mind that there is no hard and fast rule that says the seller with the higher PL rate always tops the seller with a lower rate. So, the answer to your question is “Yes, maybe.” That’s one reason ebay recommends so much experimentation with PLs and rates. The rate you choose is only one factor in where you show up. If you choose 5% and I choose 3%, and your photos suck, your price is astronomically high, you don’t bother with any Item Specifics….and I have great photos, reasonable price and use all the ISs? Odds are I’ll be above you.0
10/03/2019 at 8:09 am #68545JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
That’s one reason ebay recommends so much experimentation with PLs and rates. The rate you choose is only one factor in where you show up. If you choose 5% and I choose 3%, and your photos suck, your price is astronomically high, you don’t bother with any Item Specifics….and I have great photos, reasonable price and use all the ISs? Odds are I’ll be above you.
I hope this is true.I think eBay is playing a dangerous game letting people pay to be pushed up in search rankings. If done correctly, eBay can get a reputation for junk searches.
I hope that a poorly written listing with bad photos from a badly rated seller would still show up on page four of a search even if he paid a high trending rate.0
10/03/2019 at 9:20 am #68548
It’s easier for me to believe this was just a one-off bug than eBay employing some kind of low-level algorithm that somehow interprets minor quality differences between two identical items only mentioned in text, especially since it was wrong in this case and gave the worse item a higher TR.
I’m in agreement as far as search placement goes. I’m not trying to crack the code on it, only get some understanding of where I need to be putting the rate if I’m competing against a dozen+ listings with 1000+ quantity sold.0
10/03/2019 at 9:49 am #68551JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
Agreed. I personally dont put any confidence in Promoted Listings. eBay would need to provide much better proof of return.
To me, it feels like the “pay $2 for bold text in your title”. Just a way to get more money from desperate sellers with no guarantee of more sales.0
10/03/2019 at 10:02 am #68552
The PL team —internally, at ebay—is NOT judged by how many sellers they can convince to choose high rates. The team is NOT even really judged by the dollar volume of fees they collect (although that is a figure ebay is happier to share with stockholders LOL).
The team IS judged by their conversion success rate. Think about what that means. It means that the team has every reason to want to promote listings that have the best chance of selling. Yes, I would say if two listings are of basically equal quality, the PL rate may be the tie breaking factor. But poor listings aren’t usually going to rise to the top just because they have a high PL rate. Not when there are much better listings , even if they have lower rates.
ebay has been sending this message: create the best listing you can. THEN consider using PL. But if you really want PL to be most effective, start with a really good listing.
And again, to me there’s a big difference between selling new commodity goods in competitive categories with PL, and selling our long tail stuff. Even ebay has now acknowledged this, and has basically said the trending rate is less important for our kind of stuff….0
10/03/2019 at 11:32 am #68554Old DadParticipant
- Location: Missouri
When I first started using PL I was making multiple promotions based on the product category. The rate always stayed the same for each listing in the category.
I would adjust each category separately as trending rates changed, but that gets to be too much work when I had so many to edit. Starting Oct 1st I changed to doing PL using a flat-file download/upload (not much work for a geek). The file has 3 columns, Item ID, Ad Rate, Trending Rate. I can let Excel do the heavy lifting and edit all (almost 3000) in a few minutes. All at the trending rate, all at a fixed %, x% over or under, etc.
This allows me to try various strategies to see if there is any noticeable effect, I’ll be looking at impressions and click rate as well as sales and PL cost for those sales. PL sales as a % of total sales also. It’s not precise but maybe better than just throwing mud at the wall.0
10/03/2019 at 4:26 pm #68556
Interesting! You’re talking about eBay’s “file exchange” for editing PL rate, right? I was under the impression that feature had been taken away.0
10/03/2019 at 11:04 pm #68558Old DadParticipant
- Location: Missouri
It’s not File Exchange, but a separate function starting from the PL dashboard page, https://pls.ebay.com/plsweb/dashboard. Create a new campaign button, Select listings in bulk, etc.
One weakness is you can’t add individual listings to the campaign from the active listings page, the promote button doesn’t show the bulk campaign as an option. I’m doing it every day or 2 at the same time I make any adjustments to PL rates.
I’m guessing eBay will trick out this process with some kind of interface to make it easier, but I’ve done so much of this kind of csv work its 2nd nature for me.1+
10/04/2019 at 9:37 am #68564
This is awesome. I love that eBay has these interesting little features tucked away for power users.0
10/04/2019 at 7:40 pm #68592TimoParticipant
- Location: Metro Atlanta
I tried the promoted listings bulk csv load and download; and like it. Thanks for the tip.0
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